Well, it looks like many schools in Oregon will be opening for in-person learning soon. The governor has ordered schools to open up by April 19th. I would guess that many families have mixed feelings about this. There is a lot to consider. Some choose to continue with distance learning, while others are opting to send their kiddos back to school. Our kids are heading back on March 29th for a hybrid model: two days a week in-person, two days online, and Fridays off. I figured we didn’t have to do too much, as the school has informed us that they will be providing most of the supplies for both in-person and online scenarios. Then, suddenly, I had a thought, “Oh my gosh…school clothes shopping!”. Then I thought of backpacks…and then lunchboxes…and then masks, etc. It turns out we do have to do a little prep. I will try to shop local instead of the big-box stores like Walmart and Target. The smaller stores tend to be more expensive, but they are likely hurting due to the pandemic, so we will do our best to support them as much as possible. Here are some options I found for local shopping for popular back-to-school items.
Backpacks and Lunchboxes-
Backpacks and lunchboxes are usually a must for school. Happy to report there are some adorable, stylish choices for Portland kiddos. “Black Wagon Boutique” is one of the stores I found. They have an awesome-looking backpack with a dinosaur on it for $44. They even take payments if need be through a service called “Afterpay.” There are instructions on how to sign up for that option on their website. You make one payment every two weeks, totaling 4 payments. As for this backpack, you would make 4 $11 payments. They also have a lovely “graffiti-style backpack” for $44. Those two backpacks have matching lunch boxes as well. The lunchboxes cost $34. Their items seem to be good, durable materials and are machine washable. The store is located in N. Mississippi in Portland. They also have clothes, shoes, toys, and books. Here is a link to the backpack section of their website.
Another good option for backpacks/lunchboxes is the “Beanstalk” resale store. They are located on SE 80th and Stark St. in Portland. They offer new and used items. Their website has a section for new or used backpacks. There are 6 options for new backpacks, all priced at $29.95. There are 7 options for used backpacks, ranging from $6.95 to $16.95. There are two new lunchboxes, both priced at $17.95. There are 3 used lunchboxes: a bento lunchbox for $7.95, a unicorn “lunch backpack” for $5.95, or a “snack in style, on the go lunch bag” for $14.95. Charming stuff. New items are added regularly, so this inventory may change by getting there. Here is a link to their website (the backpacks and lunchboxes are under ‘accessories’).
It seems varieties of cotton, decorative masks are available everywhere these days. This is another item I would like to seek out from a small, local business for the kids to return to school. I’ve told them they could pick out something online within their interests, like my daughter wants “Jojo Siwa” ones, and my son wants ones that are from some YouTube channel called “Lankybox,” but I’m also going to grab them some other ones. “Blaqpaks” has some beautiful choices for kids’ masks. They are $10 apiece and handmade locally. Their website boasts that their products are “guaranteed for life.” The masks are machine washable, and they have new prints out continuously. Right now, on the website, they have 1) mermaid scales, 2) teal-mix, 3) abstract pink, and 4) airplanes. They are located on S. Montgomery St. in Portland. Here is a link to their kids’ reusable face masks.
Whoa. I just found a place that makes customizable face masks for kids. It is called “Pet Party.” The masks are made in Oregon. Customers can choose whether they want their pet or a human face on their mask! You can add 1, 2, or 3 faces. All you have to do is upload the designs, pay online, and your mask will be shipped to you. The masks are $14.99 apiece, or, currently, 4 for $40 with the promo code: “maskup.” They also sell customizable socks, potholders, and ties. I am blown away by this! What a wonderful idea. Here is the link to their website.
There are quite a few children’s clothing stores in Portland. Many of them seem to be geared toward younger kiddos, but I found a few that have clothing available for middle-aged children. “Piccolina” is a resale boutique on SE Woodstock St. in Portland. They sell children’s clothes up to a size 10. They buy and sell clothes. They carry some great brands listed on their website, like REI, Gap, and Robeez. They also have some amazing new gear that features Kamala Harris and Ruth Bader Ginsburg in their Women’s trailblazer series for Women’s history month. They are currently open from 11:00 a.m.-4 p.m. every day but Wednesdays. Here is a link to the resale website.
Grasshopper Boutique is located on NE Alberta St. in Portland. They have clothes up to size 10. Their website has sections for 1) shirts/tops, 2) dresses/jumpsuits, 3) pants/shorts/skirts, 4) accessories, 5) swimwear, and 6) sale items. Here is a link to the website: https://www.grasshopperstore.com/.
Hanna Andersson was created in Portland in 1983. They have beautiful, sustainable items for kiddos up to age 14. Currently, they have a section of “play at home favorites” that is 40% off. There is a lot to explore on this website: clothes, accessories, matching family pajamas, and it goes on and on. They also have clothes “by the character” such as Justice League, Star Wars, Disney princess, and much more. Here is the link to their website.
Looking up stationary was almost overwhelming. Portland has so many stores that have darling stuff. One of the first ones that caught my eye in my Google search is called, “Hello! Good Morning!”. The website describes the store as a “fun Portland gift shop for kids and grown-ups too!”. Currently, you have to make an appointment to shop there. They are located on SE Yamhill St. in Portland. They boast a “mix of local art and treasures from around the world,” and stationary is listed in their available items. I am definitely going to explore there soon. Here is a link to their website.
Another store that caught my eye is called “Little Otsu.” It is located around 30th and Division St. in Portland. They carry journals, pens, and pencils, planners, etc. Their products have incredibly unique designs like their “smile side clips.” This would likely be a good store for pre-teens and teenagers to pick out special school items. Here is a link to their website.
Paper source is a stationary store with locations in Portland and Tigard. The website lists items like crafts, greeting cards, stationery, etc. Currently, they have select planners that are 75% off! They have a great selection of designs and items. Here is the link to their website.
I know I am missing many things that I should be thinking about, but here is a start! There are so many great local shops here in Portland. Shopping for these items would probably be a lot of fun for most kiddos. My kids can’t wait to pick out their masks, bags, and clothes. Best of luck to you all in your back-to-school shopping!
Stephanie McCoy was born and raised in Portland, Oregon-where she still lives. She recently graduated with a Master’s in Education degree from Concordia University. In her free time: she likes to read and write, get outdoors, embrace her kiddos and husband, and watch travel documentaries.